Remembering the Chimoio attack of 23-25 November 1977

By Jackie Gwemende

Today (Monday) marks the 43rd anniversary of the Chimoio attack that claimed thousands of Zimbabwean lives during the liberation struggle in 1977.

Over three thousand young Zimbabweans who had crossed into Mozambique for military training to liberate the country were mercilessly massacred by the brutal Rhodesian colonial regime, while more than five thousand others were left injured.

Indeed blood flowed at Chimoio as thousands of Zimbabwean lives paid the supreme sacrifice – death, cruel death! to the perpetrators, the Rhodesian soldiers, the attack was simply known as Operation Dingo.

However, beyond the emotionless name, the victims were young men and women including children.

Mozambique’s Manica province was home to ZANLA’s biggest training camp situated in Vila Pery as Chimoio was known under the Portuguese administration.

Chimoio was an assembly of different camps, hence it became the Rhodesians’ target with heavy bombing which lasted two days.

The Chimoio massacre is the personification of Rhodesian brutality with women and children being butchered like animals.

The Rhodesian forces deployed their entire airforce composed of planes inherited from the British after being used during the second world war.

Rhodesia had the biggest airforce in sub-Saharan Africa outside South Africa.

It was carnage! the dead comrades were later buried in mass graves which today stand as a constant reminder of the horrific attack at the camp.

Two ZANLA commanders who were also believed to be Rhodesian targets, Cde Josiah Magama Tongogara and Cde Solomon Mujuru nom deguera Rex Nhongo managed to escape the attack.

The fearless ZANLA Commander Cde Tongogara will always be remembered for his stance of fighting the Rhodesian colonial system not the white people.

The surprise attack left more than 3000 dead and 5000 injured.